Tag Archives: book

Growing up, Yellow, Fatigue and the Stinger….

I grew up, well sort of. I figured that it was time to get what my mother calls a “real job” and from Monday that entails me wearing a shirt and tie, something which I’m really not looking forward to.

I’m not sure what has come over me this year. I think it’s a mix of getting older and realising that there’s only so long you can live off of unstable work and also the fact that I really need more money in my life.

So from Monday, I’m a suit. While that will make my writing lifestyle take more of a backseat, it certainly won’t end it. I’m hoping that if anything it makes it slightly easier. Rather than laboriously working for hours at a time, I’ll take an hour or two here and there and it might not feel quite as intense.

On another, completely unrelated note, today I’m wearing yellow and I hope you all are too.

#WearYellowForSeth

I really try and avoid social media trends and everything that goes with them, but the sickness of any child is a horrible thing  that this world dishes out. This isn’t your typical trend either, this isn’t to “raise awareness” or “raise money” or whatever else. This is simply to show support to a small child with no immune system, to put a smile on his face. So even if you have yellow socks, wear them today and join in the love on Twitter and Instagram.

If I can do it with messy hair and an uncombed beard then I’m sure you can all join in too.

If you’ve been following my other blog about my journey to a healthier life then you’ll know that I lost almost 5lbs in two weeks. I was extremely happy with myself. I don’t know how I’ll fair at next weeks weigh in because I’ve been ill for the past few days after catching a bug from my nephew. My exercise routine has been virtually non existent and my appetite pretty much disappeared aside from some chicken cooked in soy sauce and rapeseed oil and brown rice two days ago. If my result next week isn’t as good as it should be then at least I know it was down to illness and not laziness. I did try to get some exercise done but my body was so fatigued and I struggled to breath with my swollen glands and agonising sore throat.

Yesterday I had to go and get a new photo taken for my driving license. I hated it. I hate those photos, you have to just look at the camera, and not use any muscles in your face. It’s like that look that you give someone when they say something that only they find funny.

Finally, it’s WrestleMania weekend. My favourite weekend of the year, being the big geek that I am. Next year I shall be in attendance once again but this year I’m watching from the comfort of my own home. There’s nothing like WrestleMania, whether or not the card itself is good, there’s still such a hype about it that you can’t help but get excited.

Sting has his first ever WWE match this year, and for the 12 year old child in me, that is the most exciting thing ever. Needless to say I will be giddy as hell come Sunday. Whether or not I actually manage to watch the event live is another question. It starts at midnight here and ends at 4am and as I said earlier, I grew up and got a real job and that starts at 9am.

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We made it to one year.

Happy Anniversary to me, well more specifically this blog.

A year ago when I first started this, I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out. This wasn’t my usual template for journeying into the blogsphere. I had always been a person who specialised in music blogs so taking the leap and trying something else was an interesting choice and one which could have landed right on its face. Fortunately it turned out pretty well and a lot of you are still reading, or so my stats say anyway.

I know I don’t post as much as I used to or as much as I should but in the last few months things have just became so busy that trying to find the time to sit down and put words down is hard.

Not once did I truly envision that this blog would make it to be one year old and still be getting hits. That’s a testament not to me but to the patience of you the reader, the people who have waited for the latest post and then made the effort to read it. For that I thank you.

If we make it to a second birthday then I will reward you all with cake.

Ghosts of days gone by…..

Sometimes I do things without any reason and those things baffle me. For example, recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Alter Bridge, a band who, for all intents and purposes, I detested 5 years ago. Recently however I’ve been appreciating their music, now that I think about it, I’ve been changing my tastes in a lot of things recently. I suppose that part of getting older is changing your tastes and preferences. 15 years ago I was making my ears bleed and listening to the likes of Slipknot and Mudvayne, 10 years ago I had moved on to Drowning Pool and Saliva, 5 years ago I was all over Joshua Radin and City and Colour like a rash and today my playlist is about as long as an Adrien Brody Oscar speech.

The mere fact that I just used the Adrien Brody Oscar speech as a comparison to the length of something cements just how fast I’m ageing.

Recently my mortality has been playing on my mind quite a bit.  I don’t mean that in a macabre way but more in a “time has flown so quickly” way. I’m not even sure why but I’ve been sitting watching an old film or a wrestling event on the WWE Network and thinking “I was 12 when this was on” or “I was only 10 when I first saw this” then realising that such a long time has passed and yet it still all seems so fresh in my mind. Then I think that if I fast forward the same amount of time that has passed, I’ll be into my 40’s. I don’t really look forward to my 40’s and especially if it’s going to come as quickly as my late 20’s came.

Life passes far too quickly, I know that everyone says that at some point but until recently I’ve never really paid much attention to it. My daughter turned 5 a couple of weeks ago, I’m just astounded that so much time has passed. I remember sitting in the labour suite in shock and frozen to my seat overcome with emotion, it doesn’t seem like 5 years ago, it feels like 5 days ago.

I remember when I was younger, I always dreamt of the future. I always pondered over what it would be like and I couldn’t wait to get there. Now all those years that I dreamt of have passed. My 16th birthday, passed. My 18th birthday, passed. My 21st birthday, passed. My first holiday without parents, passed. My first relationship, passed (and many more have passed too). Now I don’t look to the future, I have a tendency to look to the past. I know that it’s a bad trait, I really shouldn’t. You can’t move forward if you’re stuck in the past but I think that you get to a certain age and you realise that in a couple of years you will be of the age where you start to guide the next generation. Just now I sit on the cusp of that stage of life. I’m out of the teenage years, I’m out of the early twenties madness and I’m not yet in the “must be sensible” thirties.

I suppose, and I hope I’m not the only person who feels like this, that when you get to this point in life you once again resort to the “Peter Pan” phase. Not wanting to get any older. It’s inevitable but part of you doesn’t want to keep on that ever quickening road to Mid-life.

Perhaps this is why I’ve been listening to a lot of Alter Bridge, as much as I hated them 5 years ago, they remind me of a time when I was slightly younger. I’ve also been listening to Lange quite often (yes I have very eclectic taste) and that takes me back to the summer of “Kevin and Perry Go Large”

Whatever the reason, all I know is that I’m not getting any younger and I also know that there was no real point to this blog entry. There is no special meaning or profound epiphany at the end of it. I’m not even going to go back over it to check for errors because the chances are that I’ll end up deleting the entire thing. I do have a habit of writing blogs and sitting for 30/45 minutes on them and then just deleting them. Maybe that’s why life feels like it’s passing so quickly? I spend so long wasting time and leaving empty handed…………….I change my mind, there was a profound epiphany….

Time and the Cynic

In 1898 H. G. Wells wrote his most famous novel “The Time Machine”. In the novel, for those of you who haven’t yet read it, a Victorian man invents a machine that allows him to travel into either the future or the past. As such, he travels 800,000 years into the future and while there he finds a society completely different from the one he has become accustomed to, a society inhabited by the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi, on first appearances,, appear to live an idyllic life, but the time traveller makes the discovery that there is in fact a horrendous price that they must pay.

Looking back to some of the greatest novels every written and you can see that writers such as Wells, Dick and Orwell commented on their own current society. They would question the trajectory of “current” trends of the times, question what reality actually was and they would subtly disclose their fears of the future.

Stephen Hawking himself at one point suggested that time travel must be impossible, for the sole reason that if it were possible then we would have had visitors from the future. Since we have therefore never seen a tourist from the future he concluded that time travel indeed must be impossible.

There are many arguments to this point of course, many different ways of trying to refute Hawking’s argument. Some people say that if tourists did come from the future then they simply may not interested in us. Others say that perhaps they know the ramifications of letting themselves be known to others as being from the future. My personal theory (and this is a huge hypothetical “if”) is that in this day and age, where scepticism and the need to cry insanity is but second nature, would we openly accept that someone is from the future? That’s a question that only you yourself can answer. For all I would love the idea of time travel to be a reality, the possibility of seeing days long gone,  I know that deep down if someone claimed to be from the future that I would in no way believe them, I would want to believe them and I would try my hardest to do so.

Where do we draw the line between reality and fiction? Why are we as a planet so cynical of everything that is placed in front of our eyes? In C.S Lewis “The Last Battle” there is a point where the dwarves don’t believe that what they are seeing are flowers and grass and birds, instead they think it’s all just faeces, even though it is directly in front of them. As a planet, we often find ourselves being just as cynical of what we’re seeing. Is is down to years and years of media manipulation? Or is it just a natural evolution? I can’t answer that, I don’t think anyone can answer that.

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde

Cynicism masquerades itself as wisdom, but in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cynics don’t learn anything and that’s simply because cynicism itself is a self-imposed blindness. It is a rejection of this world and it’s because we are afraid that it will in some way hurt us or let us down. Cynics always and without fail say no. This is because they don’t realise that saying “yes” causes things to begin. Saying “yes” is how to make things grow or that saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people and old people, it’s for everyone.

I think that part of my unrelenting quest to never let myself grow up comes down to a fear of cynicism. I just don’t think that I’m quite ready enough to let the youthfulness inside of me die. Not if maturity means becoming a cynic, not if you have to destroy the part of yourself that is naive and idealistic. That should be the part of you that you treasure most of all. Surely living life with the hope of idealisms is a good thing? Is it not better to die young but with your humanity intact?

So as I mentioned earlier. If someone met you randomly and told you that they were from the future, would you believe them?

One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens

The pondering coffee cup…

As I dropped the ground coffee beans from the silver spoon into the bottom of my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug this morning I stared out in to the ocean of passing children making their way to school. I saw a plethora of things walking past but the main thing I noticed were the smiles.

Was I ever that happy to go to school? Especially on a Monday morning?

It then occurred to me that those were just childrens natural smiles. A child hasn’t yet been corrupted by the wickedness and ungodly nature of the world. While they may be unhappy to go to school, they’re not unhappy with life.

That coffee was to try and awaken me from both a mental and physical slumber. For it was one of those mornings where I just couldn’t shake off  the fatigue, even after a lengthy sleep. I then discovered that I was not alone in this, so I refer you to my post from a few weeks ago where I described a Science Fiction plot which lulled the country into a fatigued state before aliens invaded. It is the imagination of one who is currently writing a novel that devised this theory. In my normal “reality” I simply put it down to either the moon cycle or the late night for the Superbowl.

I often wonder what my normal reality is. Is it the world that I’m currently living in, with my flat and my newly shaven head or is it the world that I create with magical trees and passages created by temporal physics? The truth is, I know that it’s the shaven head reality but that doesn’t prevent me from wishing that occasionally I could cross through the void and into the fictional reality that started in my head. If, like so many others, you subscribe to the “many worlds theory” then you may agree that my fictional reality does in fact exist in another dimension.

Of course I realise that everything I have just written makes me seem a little bit  unhinged. I however would argue that point, owing to the fact that I am perfectly aware of what exists and what doesn’t exist.

I know that at this moment and for most of this year, there exists a battle of wits for Scottish independence. In this battle, for many months, I refused to take a side. However as I posted previously I have now woken up and smelled the coffee in my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug. I will be voting ‘Yes’ and I will be doing so for a number of reasons.

If we become independent then we would officially be one of the world’s richest countries – ranked 6th in the OECD compared to the UK’s 16th place. There are  twenty four billion barrels of oil remaining in the North Sea, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK. That’s roughly around £1.5trillion in today’s prices – half as much in value as has been taken out.

The truth is that an independent Scotland would prosper. We would become a self sufficient nation. The above reason is but one of many reasons why we should be independent.

For me, this has nothing to do with the Scotland/England divide. Anyone who looks at this as a battle of the nations, should have their right to vote revoked. This is about the future of our country and not about past relationships.

As I stood there this morning staring at the waves of children making their way to school, I wondered what they’re being taught about the referendum. I realise that they are too young to vote but this concerns their future just as much, if not more, than ourselves.

On 6 May 1999 there was an election to decide on a Scottish Parliament. When I was at school, we were taught nothing about that. It was mentioned very briefly but we were never really taught about what it meant. I just hope that with something as huge as the referendum, the schools are educating their pupils accordingly.

On another, semi related note. While I was doing my research, I discovered that there are approximately 1036800 cans of Irn-Bru sold per day. I find that extremely impressive. Irn-Bru is a wonderful drink and even though I have refrained from drinking any carbonated juices for the last 7 weeks, it still holds a place in my heart.

Before I take my leave for today, I urge any of you who haven’t yet watched it to sit down and watch The Musketeers on BBC One. It is so refreshing to see a portrayal of The Three Musketeers which isn’t overly camp and high on comedy. The original novel by Dumas was never written that way and so I’ve never understood why that’s how it was portrayed in film. However BBC have nailed it in my opinion. While it may not be Doctor Who, it is most definitely worth a watch.

Friday my old friend….

Friday and I used to be old friends. As a day that is named after the great Norse goddess Frigg, who herself was the wife of Odin and thus the Queen of Asgard, I had more respect for Friday than any other day of the week. Across my lifespan Friday and I have been through many things together and even though she has often plagued me with a hangover to meet my mate Saturday, we never had any disagreements……….until now

You see today, the name that was given to my dear friend Friday by the masters of the sea back in times of yore seems much more appropriate. For today “Dies Infaustus” is a much more suited name as she has brought me nothing but bad luck. I have lost a bank card, had a power cut, stubbed my toe, smashed a mug and fallen off of a bus. Of course these may not sound like the worst luck in the world and you would be correct in thinking that. However, all these incidents happened before 10am this morning and as a result I am afraid to move for the remainder of the day.

I have experienced bad luck days on a few occasions in the past, the worst being back in 2006 when I lost my job and my place to stay in a matter of minutes (I was living in the same house as my boss) on that occasion I also lost my bank card. Fortuna clearly has no place in her life for me and also , it would seem, has a strange fascination with removing my  bank card from my possession.

I suppose that a lack of sleep could be causing some lapse in  concentration today, last night I found it impossible to sleep, no matter how hard I tried. A phenomenon which has apparently affected more than just I. I have spoken to seven or eight different people today who all had the same problem. I suppose this could be down to our nearing another full moon on the 27th or perhaps there’s some other strange reason behind it, I’m going with the full moon thing though.

In my  attempt to avoid moving in fear of more bad luck I’ve been reading the Three Musketeers. I picked it up the other day after watching The Muskeeters on BBC One on Sunday night (might I add I didn’t only watch it because of its ties to Doctor Who and Peter Capaldi as someone accused me of, I watched it because I’m a Musketeers fan). I haven’t read it in over a decade and I actually forgot how great a book it actually is.

Many people who have read The Three Musketeers find the idea enchanting. A story about friendship, loyalty and courage. D’Artagnan of course being the hero throughout. Myself, as much as I love D’Artagnans’ tale, I have a different hero in the story. Captain de Tréville for me is a fantastic character, who defends his Musketeers to the hilt. Strict and at times coated in a strange maniacal essence, he is the character who really pulls me in at certain points. I think that everyone needs to have someone like de Tréville in their life, someone to keep them out of trouble and make sure they’re towing the line (even  if they’re not).

I have looked out both Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne to re-read once I have finished with the Musketeers. The Vicomte de Bragelonne of course featuring The Man in the Iron Mask. The D’Artagnan collection of books is almost 200 years old and yet it’s amazing that when you read it, there are certain things that really haven’t changed all that much in the society of today.

As for my old friend Friday, I sincerely hope that you are merely in one your passing moods and that this type of behaviour will not carry on through to next week, otherwise we may have to have a heated conversation. Friday today you are a wretched wench…….

The end is nigh.

So…….

For the past few months I have been writing (a number of things actually) and I’ve kept pretty quiet about them. Only a few select people know about them, purely because I couldn’t be fucked with the pressure.

I promised myself years ago that at some point in my life I would write a book.

My first attempt came around 6 years ago when I tried to write a book called “Death of the Butterflies” Which was a time travel concept set in a future dystopia. I scrapped that idea when I didn’t know what I was doing……….May I add that years later, a television show called Continuum came along with pretty much the story in my head!

Then over time I tried many others. I just never had the time nor patience to put them down into words and so it was always pushed to the back.

A few months ago I was talking to a very wise person who told me “write what you know” and being the narcissistic prick that I am, I decided to start detailing my fucked up and crazy path in life, intertwined with some serious intellectual musings.

I’ve now almost finished all those words and after speaking to a few people who actually know about these things and who have read a few segments, I can now say that within the next four weeks I will release my first book.

“The Life and Times of a Mad Scotsman (without a box)”

A complete diary of some of the crazy shit that’s happened to me.

Taking that advice was some of the best advice that I have ever taken because about 6 weeks into writing it I realised that when I sat down and actually wanted to, I could write for hours on end. So, with that in mind, I started on a little side project. I started fleshing out some ideas and writing what will become my first actual novel.

“Smoke and Mirrors”

A tale of bio-chemist who’s life has been manipulated around him with the sole purpose of thermoforming a populated planet. This one, should hopefully be completed within six to seven months.

After chatting to the lovely people at Amazon, they gave me a package which suited my needs (and quite frankly cost me fuck all) to get self published.

Anyway, the point is that months and months of hard ass work is coming to a head very soon.

Geez some haggis doll….

This year is a big year for Scotland. We have to make a decision on whether or not we become an independent state. I don’t get involved in politics for one simple reason…….it’s a corrupt society. In all honesty up until about 10 minutes ago I was undecided on how I would vote.

Instead of delving into a plethora of “for and against” arguments, I’m just going to leave this picture here……the picture that helped me make up my mind.

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Losing days…

I have been so engulfed in putting words on pages recently that I’ve lost track of days. I could have sworn today was Friday so I was confused when I picked up a newspaper to see it read “The Independent on Sunday” instead of just “The Independent”

At some point in my life, this entire tumultuous ‘forgetting which day it is’ debacle is not going to serve me well. Unless I can be two days late for my own death in which case it has served a necessary purpose.

Cup of tea and some Ocean Colour Scene to kick off the day as I prepare to attempt to construct some more comprehensive yet esoteric undertakings.

It’s fascinating to me how something can entirely distract you from the rest of the world. Had I not left the house and ventured to the shop this morning there is a chance that I would not realise it was Sunday until next Sunday arrives.

I’ve been contributing to various writing projects as of late, that has also led my mind into solitary confinement. However, come the end of this month most of those projects will be completed and so I should have a bit more time to enjoy the wonders of life.

I am however making time tonight to watch the latest episode of Sherlock. After a fantastic start to the new series I am eagerly anticipating the remaining episodes.

Anyway, back to the grind.